Russian Hovercraft Nearly Plows Through Crowded Beach

A Russian hovercraft made a quick landing on a beach filled with sunbathers this week, an occurrence apparently so common that none of the people at the beach seemed the least bit frightened by it.

Amateur video of the incident hit the internet this week, showing a giant hovercraft in a fast approach with a beach packed with hundreds of people. The video is shot from a distance and doesn't catch much detail, but the crowds appear to continue on with their business, not seeming to mind as the boat bears down on them.

The boat sprayed water from both sides as it sped toward the beach, but instead of running away the beachgoers just watched in amazement. In the end the Russian hovercraft slowed down in time to avoid crushing the beachgoers, but the video makes it look like a very close call. Many others were seen taking photographs and video of the giant boat.

As the hovercraft came to a stop just at the edge of the water, witnesses said paratroopers exited and asked beachgoers to clear the way. A Russian defense ministry spokesman later told a local newspaper that the landing was part of a tactical training mission, and that the beach is actually an area owned by the military and used for exercises.

"Docking at the beach... is a normal event," the spokesman said. "What people were doing at the beach on the territory of a military (base) is unclear."

The Russian hovercraft is part of the Navy's Zubr-type crafts, built to carry up to 500 troops and fitted with a host of weaponry. They have missile launchers and automatic gun mounts, as well as the ability to lay land mines. The hovercraft is also able to reach speeds of nearly 70 miles per hour.